Rethinking sustainable cities with Monocle
Our rethink philosophy runs deep. We want to offer a fresh perspective on the big questions that our clients and society are concerned with. That’s why our partnership with Monocle, on revaluating city spaces, is so fitting. Together, with Monocle in 2016, we showcased individuals from all over the world, who are reshaping our cityscapes in order to make them more sustainable, inclusive and have the ambition to leave a better legacy for future generations.
In celebration of this necessary work, a panel of urban-changers gathered together to debate how cities are changing and how they hope to influence people’s lives, at the Monocle headquarters. The panellists were Arne Olsson, Managing Director of Folkhem, a Swedish residential development company; Martin Barry, Landscape Architect and Founder of reSITE, a non-profit organization exchanging ideas for more liveable and loveable cities. Alongside them was Elizabeth Reynolds, Director of Urben (an urban planning and design consultancy) and founder of Think Deep UK, who reimagines urban living through the clever use of underground space; and Nick Rees - Co-Founder of The Collective: a co-living organisation in London, redefining the way people choose to live and work in the city.
The quartet discussed their own rethink approach to changing the way we evolve our cities. At the heart of community living was Nick Rees. His co-living approach offers the best of both worlds. A purpose built space comprising private studios within a beautiful property. Residents can enjoy on-site facilities such as working spaces and gyms so they can share city life in a responsible way.
Tactility was also part of the agenda. Arne Olsson, showcased his Swedish timber building projects. Timber is far more environmentally friendly than concrete and has more durability. Arne and his team are dedicated to raising the profile of timber houses, all over the world, and they frequently work with Swedish town planers to find spaces to invest in green developments. He doesn’t just want to rethink building houses, he strives to take care of all the spaces in-between and can attest to timber’s ‘healing qualities’.
Love was in the air as Martin Barry extolled the virtues of making cities more loveable. Taking inspiration from Michael Bloomberg, he quoted ‘Cities need to be cool, creative and in control’ and he discussed the importance of investors being ‘change-makers’ today when they buy and develop land, not just for commercial gain, but to bring nature and sustainability back to our urban environments.
Creating climate change resilience was a focus point for Elizabeth Reynolds. Initiatives from growing tomatoes on city balconies right through to turning inhospitable spaces into underground farms, her attitude was encouraging for all. And her message was simple; through incremental change, we can all future-proof our areas and move towards a more productive model than a consumptive model.
It’s important that we begin to reimagine our cities and cater to the growing consciousness that will, ultimately, shape future living.
If you missed the event, click here to listen to the panellists’ debate.
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